Tag Archives: charactersdoingstupidthings

Motivation and Getting On With It

I was trying to work out today what motivates me to write. I’m in a bit of a slump at the moment – I’m not feeling inspired and struggling to motivate myself, despite having time to actually write (and read, and research…)

It’s not finishing something. That’s great, but it doesn’t give me a satisfaction, doesn’t give me a buzz; it’s just another step, because I know that even if I’ve finished something, then I’ve gotta send it to a reader and then edit and then re-edit and then…it’s just another step in the process.

Wordcount doesn’t motivate me, either. It always feels too close to the NaNo 50k or bust thing; it doesn’t matter if they’re good words, just words. And frankly, that just annoys me, because if I write shit words then I’ll just end up rewriting, so what’s the point? I can appreciate that it’s good at some stages of a writing journey, but for me, I’d rather not write than write shit that I’m just going to have to redo later.

Ideas? Sure, I have a few things that I think “hey, that’d make a great story”…but unless it’s there, it’s got the inspiration behind it, then it just sits. I’ve got quite a lot of snippets and odd fragments of story that have never got further than that “hey, that’s a cool idea” stage.

So what does motivate me? I guess, as far as I can work out, it’s getting the voices out of my head. It’s writing a story that needs to be told. I can have a great idea, but it needs to live. I need the characters in my head. I have no idea what the process is that puts them there, but it’s something I try to make sure I have it when I write.

So…at this stage, I guess the best I can do is just keep going. I’m re-reading my work in progress(es), trying to see if I can continue with any of them even with my current slump. I think there’s one that I can continue, so…

This freakin’ sucks. But hey, such is a writer’s life with a screwey brain. Some days, I have everyone shouting in my head – other days, I just get tumbleweed.

All of the possibilities

So, I made the mistake of asking two of my writing friends what they thought my next book should be. I outlined a few plots, and then…

Well, we had an hour-long discussion – aka. they tore my ideas to pieces – and we went off on tangents including spinal fluid, Regency, superheroes, Brighton Pier, love stories, killing people by burying them in sand, and the importance of alcohol. Yeah. Writers are weird.

The major issue that I had with the story was that it lacked a pull; the protagonist didn’t really have any reason, any stake. In addition, we decided the story needed a twist; sure, standard plots are fun, but what you really need is the “ok, that sounds normal….what?!” moment when someone hears your tagline. So together, we came up with a roughly workable idea based on this original concept, and I’ve been refining it. I’m currently in the thinking stages – it always feels like I’m not really doing anything, and I have to resist the urge to start writing. But I need the time; I think as I’m walking, and as I give it the time to expand, it grows and twists.

I throw out ideas, too, and throw them in, and mix them up. My characters change; a group? A city? One person? A love story? What would tell my story best, what fits the world, what lets me have fun? The entire thing is malleable, and in many ways, this is the most fun part – where entire plotlines change because I suddenly want to add something, or I throw out whole ideas because something else works better. It’s a frustrating and a fun stage.

I’ve got scribbles and notes, and I have a feeling that I may try this for my 2017 NaNo; I should have a rough plot by then, and have my world figured out. But at this stage, the whirlwind includes Romeo & Juliet, castles, mafia, alcohol, death, necromancy, robots, romance…

The ideas are just bouncing around!

I am a Horrible Author

I’m a horrible person.

When writing, that is. In real life, I’d hope I’m kinda nice.

…sometimes.

When people don’t piss me off too much.

(Mostly joking! I’m usually incredibly polite and friendly, with the usual proviso of “slight introvert so finds it hard to start a conversation”. If you ever see me, do come and say hi!)

I was thinking about No Man’s Dawn, which is sort of a prequel to No Man’s Land. I’m not entirely happy about it, so I’m just letting it stew…so I was thinking about it in the car as I drove down to see a friend.

And I had the BEST* idea.

You know it’s bad when I start giggling to myself. It’s even worse when I start laughing. And when I lean back and go, “Oh, now that’s GOOD” is when it’s going to be really bad.

Have I told you that my beta reader didn’t talk to me for two days after That Ending in No Man’s Land? I’m still quite proud of that as it’s entirely deserved. I’ve now got a little private bet with myself as to what names she’ll call me after she reads this one – I may have to create a bingo sheet.

Off to do some writing I go! There may be evil chuckles.

 

*Worst. For my characters.

No Man’s Dawn: writing a bastard

Luk is a bastard. And he’s great fun!

He’s a version of the Knight from my Dresden writing, and a version of him also snuck into the Dresden RPG – Ryan wanted to play him for our next session. The character sheet was awesome to make; basically, if he can fight or screw his way out of a situation then he will, and if he can’t, then he’ll weasel out of it. He’s mostly looking out for himself, has a definite way with words, and is just generally a git.

He comes in to No Man’s Land, but he’s a bit less of a dupek at that point. No Man’s Dawn is a prequel, set about ten years before No Man’s Land…and I get to have Luk be his original, bastard self.

This is just the start of him; he gets worse! *big author grin*

 

But the first thing I do after I swing myself out from under the very comfortable duvet is pull out the two trinkets I stole from the crone in the Otherworld yesterday.

In the morning light, they look plain and dusty. One is a set of thin bracelets, held together with a leather strap woven down one edge; the other side jangles faintly as I pick them up. Seen through the Sight, this cluster of thin silver rings looks like it contains a fairly potent shielding spell, or maybe a concealment. I’d have to get someone a bit more knowledgeable than I am to have a look.

The second item looks, frankly, like a small red carrot. It’s heavy, slightly bobbled, pointed at one end and blunt at the other. It doesn’t look like it does anything.

I hold it in my palm and flick my Sight on. It’s magical, sure, and…it looks like it’s got some kind of trigger spell on it. You’d have to put magic into it to start whatever the magic is that it contains, and I’m not feeling that today. That’s a pretty good way to get your metaphorical fingers burned when the main spell sucks you dry. No thank you.

I put both of the items in one of the desk drawers, and sling the invisibility cloak over my naked shoulders. Polly’s got a long mirror leaning against the wall in the hallway, so I pad out to look at myself. To me, the cloak just looks like a cloak, but in the mirror I’m barely there. I’d guess that the spell has lost some of its potency here; the cloak will act as more of an attention-diverter than a true invisibility spell. Still, pretty useful.

I drop the cloak, enjoying the fabric on my skin, and spend a little while examining myself. I still look pretty good, even with my scars. The white, puckered lines trail down my cheek and neck and onto my side. My rib’s healed nicely, and you can’t even tell that my arm was broken. My cock took a bit of a beating, but that’s healed – although admittedly my balls didn’t. Oh well, it’s not like I wanted children anyway.

I pose for a while longer, and then run a hand through my hair. A bit greasy, but it’ll do. It’s not like my natural charm ever let greasy hair get in the way of a fuck.

 

 

Progress: No Man’s Dawn

Writing feels like a jigsaw puzzle sometimes, except you have to make up the pieces yourself.

I start off with some of the edges, and a few bits of tree or whatever, and then realise that maybe the pattern is a kitten in a basket and that’s some of the basket, and I’ve got the kitten, plus I found a few more bits of edge, but maybe it would look good with a puppy in there too? And then the cat sits on the board and I lose a few of the pieces down the back of the sofa and the sky seems to be a weird mix of blue and cloud, and it’s all a weird mess within a few random edge pieces.

Also, I think metaphors can be taken too far. But you get what I mean.

I didn’t feel that No Man’s Dawn was quite right; I was missing something. Dee was boring. While the outline was good – someone running away from a problem, making a new life, discovering secrets, murder mystery – it didn’t have the spark I wanted.

Well, I came up with a solution.

I added Luk.

I came up with the idea in the car, and my housemate just gave me a Look when I started giggling.

This is now the start of the book:

“Fuck. Fuck, fuckitty fucking fuck. Fuck!”

That last one echoes off the rock ahead of me, and I glance over my shoulder to try to spot my pursuers.

Of course, I can’t see anything.

“Fucking invisible bastard fuckers!”

You see why I was giggling?

Adding Luk adds depth and familiarity. I’m doing alternate chapters, Luk and Dee; it means I can add an extra plotline, add an extra thread to my murder mystery, and I don’t necessarily have to explain everything to the clueless Dee as Luk is already experienced. He’s also a complete bastard, and it’s been great fun to play out some of the consequences – especially on Dee. I’d already planned for him to come into the story, but having half of it from his perspective is definitely the right thing to do.

The spark’s back. I’m loving this almost as much as No Man’s Land; it hasn’t got the same snark factor, but hopefully it’s going to have a similar Not Nice feel, along with a twist at the end.

I’m also doing some work on No Man’s Sky; I’ve got ideas for some fill-in sections thanks to my beloved alpha-reader and aunt, and it’s been through a couple of other readers who have also given me ideas and encouragement. I’m waiting on my other alpha to finish writing Suddenly Lesbians (working title) and then she can focus on it, but that’s definitely got some spark back too.

So it’s getting there! (Again). Yay!